Whincup: ‘Minimal’ impact from Camaro aero change

A Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro, in testing before the aerodynamic change. Picture: MTR Images

A Triple Eight Race Engineering Chevrolet Camaro, in testing before the aerodynamic change. Picture: MTR Images

Triple Eight Team Principal Jamie Whincup says the aerodynamic change to the Chevrolet Camaro Supercars ahead of the Thrifty Newcastle 500 will have a “minimal” impact on set-ups.

As first reported by Speedcafe.com, the Camaros have been given a tweak with the addition of a small plastic piece which effectively enlarges the front wheel arches.

That change, the implementation of which is an interim solution until such time that front bar assemblies are remoulded, is understood to achieve a very small increase in downforce, and comes after almost a week of parity testing at Temora Aerodrome.

Chevrolet teams have therefore been unable to complete any testing of their own with the new bodywork, nor necessarily at the regulated minimum weight and prescribed centre of gravity which was only finalised after the all-in hit-out at Sydney Motorsport Park on February 22.

For Red Bull Ampol Racing, however, it is little drama.

The new aerodynamic piece, before being wrapped in the Red Bull Ampol Racing livery

The new aerodynamic piece, before being wrapped in the Red Bull Ampol Racing livery

“We reacted to the weight thing for Sydney Motorsport Park test, so we were basically running around at the right weight,” Whincup told Speedcafe.com.

“The little packer on the front wheel arch is going to be very, very minimal as far as having to tune the car out. It’s a very, very small change.

“That’s another debate within itself on three months’ time, the time and effort that went into that three months, and the big statements getting thrown around for it to come down to this little strip on the front wheel arch on one car. That’s another debate.

“But no, thankfully we’ve been practicing basically very, very similar to how the car’s going to roll out, but that’s not the case for some teams unfortunately, which is why RD made those comments [Roland Dane in his Speedcafe.com column] because there should have been a bit of an understanding on what the weights should be for that day.”

As the Triple Eight Race Engineering boss alluded to, the Ford camp had sought further testing given it considered there to be an imbalance in the Mustang’s downforce relative to that of the Camaro.

Whincup told Speedcafe.com more than a month ago that his team, which was charged with homologating the Chevrolet Supercar, was ready to sign off on the Camaro after the November 2022 VCAT.

It was thus something of a surprise when it came to pass that the Camaro would be given a small improvement as a result of the ‘mini VCAT’ at Temora.

“[It is] Crazy ironic,” said Whincup.

“We presented out car so early, ready to go, and wanted to sign off so early so we could all just get on with the most important thing – everyone build cars and get to this race meeting – but the other side were the ones slowing the process up, holding it up, putting roadblocks left, right, and centre. It’s quite ironic that we’re the ones that had to make the change.

“But, it is what it is; we’re not complaining about the change.

“If you sit in Supercars’ position, what’s the best way to get parity? It was to update the Camaro and so we accepted that.

“If we thought there was a better and easy way for them to update their car, we certainly would have suggested it, but the reality is it’s not.”

At the Blue Oval, there is now confidence that aerodynamic parity has been achieved, although Ford Performance boss Mark Rushbrook was not quite so certain about powertrains.

Regardless, after literally years of work behind the scenes at Triple Eight, which has done much of the legwork on the project, the Gen3 era finally comes to life on a race track today.

According to the seven-time champion-turned-team boss, excitement levels are “as high as it gets”.

“We’ve been starving for a new product for at least 12 months, probably longer, and here it is,” added Whincup.

“Three years of development, some going around in circles, up and down, or a bit over the side and then back to the middle again, and here we are: at a crazy little straight track, an amazing event, with a brand-new product. Yeah, it’s exciting.

“If you’re not interested in seeing the result Saturday’s race, motorsport’s probably not for you, because it doesn’t get any better.”

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